Heidi Sieck on Anne Hutchinson

“Our connection to grace is something all of us own.”

Spiritual Reformer Anne Hutchinson believed "we have a covenant of grace with God,” a direct relationship that does not require intervention by preachers, priests or any other religious intermediary. This radical perspective threatened the power of the Church and Anne was tried, convicted and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by its male Puritanical clerics. Despite the controversy, Anne, a charismatic leader (also a midwife, and mother of eleven children) continued to speak up about religious freedom, developing a large and loyal following, challenging gender roles and power structures of the day. A religious school was founded to refute Anne’s ideas — Harvard University. When CEO Heidi Sieck attended Harvard she uncovered this shadowed history of the bold, forward-thinking Anne Hutchinson, who continues to inspire.

Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.


Heidi Sieck

Heidi L. Sieck is an award-winning, C-level civic entrepreneur and co-founder/Chief Empowerment Officer (CEO) of #VOTEPROCHOICE, the political home of the nation’s prochoice majority. Heidi has been working in the intersection of technology, political power and feminism for over 30 years with a particular obsession for electing prochoice champion women in downballot races. Professionally, Heidi was the founding Chief Operating Officer of Civic Hall and Democracy.com in New York City and interim Chief Operating Officer of Rock the Vote in Washington, D.C. She serves on the Boards of Rock the Vote Action Fund, Men4Choice, and the 21 in ’21 Project to elect women to the New York City Council. She previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NARAL New York). Heidi is also a member of the Women’s March Steering Committee where she served on the original Policy Table responsible for writing the intersectional Unity Principles and Women’s Agenda for the Women’s March on Washington 2017. Heidi established herself as a civic technologist and government transformer when she led San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s award-winning 311 Customer Service Center project, a $20 million construction, technology and transformational government service establishing the foundation of the open government movement in the U.S. She also had a career in disaster response and recovery and founded one of the nation’s first post-disaster resilience projects. When she is not creating a company, mentoring a young woman or giving a speech about political transformation, you will find Heidi playing in the sandbox of democracy. Heidi has worked on eight presidential campaigns and countless state and local races from New York City to Nebraska. She served as President of the nonpartisan San Francisco Women’s Political Committee, the largest women’s organization in San Francisco. She also co-founded the San Francisco Women’s Policy Summit with her mentor Vice President Kamala Harris, then District Attorney of San Francisco. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Nebraska and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School where she was awarded the Holly Taylor Sargent Award for Advancement of Women in Leadership

Featured Woman

Anne Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson (née Marbury) was a religious and spiritual advisor and preacher born in England in July 1591. Her father was an Anglican clerk and a schoolteacher and ensured that young Anne was well-educated. She went on to marry her childhood friend, William Hutchinson, with whom she had eleven children. In 1634, the couple emigrated with their family to the growing settlement of Boston in New England, following the arrival of preacher, John Cotton. Hutchinson was a practicing midwife and also held weekly religious meetings for women in her home During these meetings she commented on recent sermons, teaching followers her own spiritual understandings. Her meetings became so popular she eventually included male participants and amassed a loyal following. Hutchinson openly accused the local ministers of teaching a convenant of works instead of a covenant of grace, angering many in the church. Her actions sparked the Antinomian Controversy, culminating in her 1637 trial, conviction, and banishment from the colony. She and her followers left and established the colony of Portsmouth, in what became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. After her husband died and amid threats of Massachusetts taking over Rhode Island, Hutchinson took her youngest six children to live in the lands of the Dutch, which would later become the Bronx, New York City. In 1643, Anne Hutchinson and five of her children were slaughtered by native warriors from the Siwanoy tribe, amidst ongoing unrest between Colonist and the Indians they sought to displace. Hutchinson was a key figure in the fight for religious freedom in England’s American colonies and in the history of women in ministry.